A bold approach to short-term hire over a 34-year relationship and £52million investment has helped get some of Global Experience Specialist’s (GES) and the UK’s most famous exhibitions and events on the road. From the 2012 London Olympic Games to the London Boat Show and Elvis Presley, Briggs Equipment have supported GES in building an enviable reputation as an event logistics specialist.
For GES, a reliable materials handling partner is essential. The company works with Briggs Equipment, the UK’s leading independent provider of materials handling solutions, which is its sole provider of short-term hire equipment. Briggs plays a key role within the GES team, helping to deliver the consistently high standards that are required for this market leader.
GES requires a variety of equipment
Typically, GES takes responsibility for incoming freight handling, customs clearance and export/import transportation, including unloading goods from lorries and aircraft. To meet these commitments, it hires in Yale and Hyster diesel counterbalance forklift trucks, with capacities ranging from 2.5 tonnes to 16 tonnes. These tough, fuel efficient machines are designed for high intensity applications, particularly where continuous strength and reliability are vital. With a range of configurations, they can be tailored to suit the job in hand, no matter how challenging.
GES also relies on Briggs Equipment for JCB telescopic handlers and rough terrain equipment. The market-leading telehandler features four-wheel drive and three different steer modes, earning ita deserved reputation for ultimate manoeuvrability, as well as high performance and productivity. JCB’s rough terrain forklifts are designed for high mobility and productivity on uneven ground and provide a reliable, versatile and easy-to-use solution for almost any handling environment.
The JCB rough terrain forklift was part of GES’s equipment of choice for the temporary fit out of venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It also hired in two telehandlers and 16 forklift trucks from Briggs Equipment to build a stage in the gardens of Buckingham Place for a special opera performance to celebrate HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
A complete, cost-effective solution
GES hires 20 to 30 machines at any one time and a hire period can be anything from two days up to three weeks. For Steve Mott, Technical Heavy Lift Manager at GES, it is the broad range of equipment that Briggs can provide and its network of depots around the country that help set it apart from the competition. Often, machines are delivered to the specified location within 24 hours of him placing the order.
Steve says: “There are plenty of materials handling suppliers out there, of course, but Briggs Equipment does so much more than drop off and collect machines. We get the latest specification trucks at competitive prices backed by truly exceptional service. Briggs gives us a complete solution that we really value.”
Availability when we need it
Clearly, giving reasonable notice makes good sense. It means that customers specifying equipment are more likely to be able to hire in the particular machines they want, for a designated period. For the really big shows, GES will place an equipment order with Briggs between six and eight months ahead of schedule.
However, as experienced event logistics businesses know only too well, this is not always possible. Small jobs can come in with little notice and unexpected needs arise, both of which spark a last minute call to hire in the necessary equipment.
“Anyone working in our industry will tell you it’s not for the fainthearted. We’re always operating to strict deadlines, which can make for a highly pressured environment,” adds Steve Mott.
“Luckily, no job is too small for Briggs Equipment. Also, because of its huge fleet and regional capabilities, we can rely on Briggs to make sure the right equipment is in situ at the appointed time.
“That’s a huge weight off my shoulders, especially when we need to place an order with little advance warning so there is next to no lead time. In fact, nine and a half times out of ten, Briggs Equipment is able to satisfy our requirements at extremely short notice.”
Like the majority of logistics specialists working in events management Global Experience Specialists does not employ a huge number of permanent drivers. Its core operations team of 14 people, including an in-house warehouse manager, is supported by 40 part-time equipment operators during shows and events. Although the company has a small fleet of forklifts, which were purchased from Briggs Equipment, Steve finds it more efficient and cost-effective to hire in the latest models as and when he needs them.
With the ability to drive a variety of makes and models of truck, drivers are a highly discerning audience. Thanks to well thought-out ergonomics, which have operator comfort and convenience at their core – including an innovative compartment design that ensures easy access – the counterbalance forklifts supplied by Briggs are a firm favourite among GES’s army of drivers. As a result, GES can be confident that productivity will not be impacted and there are few health and safety concerns, even where repetitive tasks are involved.
Year after year GES supports specific exhibitors at Farnborough Air Show. The company also lifts boats, small yachts and catamarans into position at the London Boat Show and Southampton Boat Show. One of the company’s more unusual projects was to help Graceland bring its exhibition of Elvis Presley memorabilia to London in 2014. Having collected the items from Memphis, including the famous 1956 Lincoln Continental, the 1960 MG convertible from Blue Hawaii, a modified golf cart and a 1976 Harley Davidson, GES installed them in a single day. The museum was located on the third floor of the 02 Arena, but GES was able to lift the vehicles into position using a 40 tonne city crane, a Yale 2.5 tonne forklift trucks and JCB telescopic handlers supplied by Briggs Equipment.
Each show or event brings its own set of challenges for logistics/event management companies. These days, customers expect their specialist suppliers to inject an element of innovation too and this is especially important for regular and much-anticipated fixtures in the calendar.
Steve Mott says: “Whether you’re supporting longstanding customers that you’ve got to know well over the years or are working with new customers on a major, one-off initiative, the level of innovation in our industry knows no bounds.
“No two shows are the same and we’re always trying to make each one, fresh and exciting. Working with such an experienced materials handling partner as Briggs Equipment helps us meet whatever challenges may come our way and gives us the confidence to incorporate new and innovative ideas into our events. All in all, the support we receive from Briggs adds real value to our business.”
Since 2010 Briggs Equipment has invested around £52.5million to build its short-term hire capability and the fleet currently numbers more than 5,100 units. This year alone, a £2million investment will help to develop the range of equipment available. Along with additional workhorse forklifts there will be more container handlers and reach stackers, which are the ‘go to’ equipment for port operators. Briggs Equipment is also expanding its specialist range. As a result, equipment that is ideally suited to meet the requirements of event management companies, such as JCB telehandlers, is now readily available on contracts ranging from a single day up to 12 months.
Allan Parsons, national rental manager at Briggs Equipment, has noted a distinct change in the short-term hire market in recent years. Flexible, customer-centric solutions are now the norm, and Briggs has invested to ensure it can continue to satisfy customer requirements.
Allan says: “The strength of our offering lies in our ability to provide successful businesses like GES with much more than a reliable supply of equipment.
“Operating as a ‘one stop resource’, we offer a wide range of equipment on flexible contracts, coupled with quality servicing and that all-important fast response.
“We advise customers to ensure they hire the right machine for the job, which is particularly important where aerial access equipment is concerned, and we can assist with driver training.”